Penticton’s LocoLanding Adventure Park built on memories of love and life

Local busineswoman working to support children’s grief support group

Diana Stirling with her late brother Mike Steffen in a photo taken just months before his death. She is currently working with a local counsellor to provide badly needed grief support for children and youth in the community. (Contributed)

When Diana Stirling first learned about the child grief support counsellor Susan Kast was providing for kids in the community she was compelled to do what she could to help.

That’s because when her older brother Mike Steffen died in a workplace accident in 1999 at age 26, she knew all too well that feeling of loss and aloneness the kids Kast was counselling were experiencing.

“When Mike was killed, I remember desperately searching for someone that had lost their sibling, just to talk to someone that had an idea of the grief I was going through,” said Stirling, co-owner of LocoLanding Adventure Park that her parents built in Mike’s memory. “Susan’s program provides that for our Penticton children, as well as the very much needed counselling and support services.

“Each family I’ve spoken with have said they would have been lost without Susan, she is truly a gift in our community and to these grieving families.”

Several years ago she reached out to Kast to make LocoLanding available for a wrap-up party for the kids and their families each year to have fun and make memories with others going through the same trials.

Five years ago Kast started providing the service through the Penticton and District Hospice Society program however she left in 2018 and it was discontinued.

But because of the tremendous need, she realized it had to continue and started it up again on her own on a limited budget and once again Stirling was quick to offer her assistance and to make others aware of the need.

“That’s what concerns me though is that this group that provides grief services to Penticton children and youth is no longer funded,” said Stirling. “I’ll be working with Susan to see how we can keep her program going. We require $11,000 annually and a place for the children to meet monthly.”

That assistance includes opening LocoLanding for mini golf and Lickity Splitz (ice cream) for one final day this year on Sept. 22 by donation with all proceeds going towards the program.

READ MORE: Grief resource for South Okanagan children is one-of-a-kind

Adolf and Lesley Steffen built the park on a dream of creating memories in honour of their son Mike when they moved to Penticton two years after his death.

“To be able to provide a few hours of fun, laughs and memories for this precious group of children was everything my parents had built LocoLanding for,” said Stirling, whose brother died the day before her 24th birthday.

“Mike and I were always close. Growing up on a farm in Lumby it was just he and I and my parents, working side-by-side every day,” recalled Stirling. “He loved hockey, had the biggest smile, gave the best hugs and I couldn’t have asked for a better brother.

“LocoLanding was very much their (mother and father) therapy. My dad was able to build and my mom spent all of her time in the gardens,” said Stirling. “To say that LocoLanding is built from love is an understatement.”


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

 

A plaque at LocoLanding Adventure Park tells the story of its construction by Adolf and Lesley Steffen in memory of their son Mike Steffen. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Just Posted

SOWINS receives $1,000 from Wednesday Night Ladies Club

The money will go to support the society’s Transition House and other programs

Okanagan hosts Mexico for soccer

The Okanagan Masters League won both matches against their Mexican counterparts

Ogopogo and Shuswaggi aren’t the only lake monsters to have legendary status

While both have legend status in the Okanagan-Shuswap regions there are said to be more

Penticton students take aim at bullying with Be Kind initiative

The initiative aims to replace Anti-Bullying Day with year-round activities.

Security footage shows grab and go of cash in Penticton business break-in

Marla Black is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who broke into Winemaster

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Athlete of the Week: Finn Tolley

Finn Tolley is the Penticton Western News/Canadian Tire athlete of the week

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Epic overtime battle, big turnout for memorial night to late owner of Okanagan hockey team

The KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

Most Read